Election Petition: NDC, NPP disagree on delay tactic allegations

BY: Samuel K. Obour

A member of the petitioners’ legal team,  Mr Frank Davis has questioned the pace and direction of the cross-examination of the petitioners’ star witness by lead counsel for the third respondent, Tsatsu Tsikata.

Some of the judges hearing the election petition including the Chairman of the panel of judges, Justice Atuguba have also raised concerns over the pace of the cross-examination.

But, a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) legal team, lawyer Victor Kojogah Adawudu has fended off the delay tactic allegations against Tsikata, saying “we have to be meticulous because some of the evidence have peculiar legal problems we have to carefully go through.”

However, according to Mr Davis, lawyer for the third respondent, Mr Tsikata cannot use the whole of the year to cross- examine. 

“The mere fact that they have an 82-page affidavit evidence does not mean he should use the whole of the year to cross examine.

“I don’t really get the sense of his cross-examination; Tony Lithur and James Quarshie Idun, between the two of them used   less days than what Mr Tsatsu Tsikata is doing now,” he said.

Mr Davis described the situation as worrying. “Today is the eight day of his cross-examination, and I simply don’t know what he is trying to elicit from the witness.”

Speaking on Eyewitness News, lawyer Davis, however, said if it would take Mr Tsikata 40 days to go through his cross- examination, so be it. 

“I am concerned about the petitioners’  case; if we are talking about expedition we can’t continue with one line of cross- examination, so laborious,” he said.

The Supreme Court, as part of its directive, ordered the parties involved in the election petition case to come with affidavit testimony in order to facilitate a speedy trial.

Mr Adawuda vehemently rubbished  the allegations  that they had resorted to unnecessary delay tactics to prolong the case.

According to Mr Adawuda, it was in the interest of the government  as it was in the petitioners’ to have this case dispensed with as quickly as possible.

He said the government had made promises and must deliver on those promises. 

He said they couldnot go back to the electorate four years later and tell them that because of the court case they could not honour those promises.

The cross-examination of the petitioners’ star witness, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has taken over 14 days, with Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the third respondent, having taken nine days so far.

He entered his ninth day yesterday when the court sat, and there was no clear indication as to when he would draw the curtains on his cross-examination.

Critics, mostly from within the NPP, are accusing Mr Tsikata of engaging in needless repetitions to prolong the case.

On Monday, Presiding Judge William Atuguba also had cause to complain about the delay in proceedings so far and admonished all parties to adopt measures to expedite the trial.

Reacting to the concerns of delay, Adawudu told Joy News’ Evans Mensah there “is no better option” than what has gone on so far.

He explained that the respondents must “meticulously” deal with the evidence brought before the court by the petitioners.